Parliamentary body agrees to form steering committee for TTP talks

ISLAMABAD (PEN) – A crucial in-camera session of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) in Islamabad chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has agreed that a steering committee will be formed on the issue of talks with the banned outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP).

The meeting was also attended by the heads of other security agencies, senior members of the National Assembly and Senate, members of NA and Senate standing committees on defence, officials of the ministries of defence, foreign affairs, interior, Kashmir affairs, health, and federal secretariat of the national security division.

The National Assembly Secretariat sent a letter inviting 62 members of NA, Senate and the PCNS, which comprises 27 members, including PM Shehbaz Sharif.

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, senior parliamentary leaders of both houses, federal ministers, senior political leaders, provincial chief ministers, president and prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan have been specially invited to the meeting.

However, former prime minister Imran Khan has not been invited to the important PCNS meeting, as he isn’t a member of the committee and hasn’t accepted the position of parliamentary leader of his party either.

The meeting discussed important issues including the overall national security situation in the country. The Prime Minister apprised the committee of the current situation in the country.

According to sources, the military leadership briefed the participants on the progress of the talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The participants were briefed by DG ISI and Corps Commander Peshawar while the Army Chief briefed all the members and answered their questions.

During the briefing, it was informed that the negotiating committee consists of civil and military representatives under the leadership of the government. The committee is negotiating within the framework of the Constitution of Pakistan and It will be done by consensus.

In the meeting, the parliamentary forum gave a mandate to the negotiating committee to continue negotiations with the banned TTP.

It was decided that a steering committee would be formed comprising only parliamentary members, which would oversee the negotiation process.

The participants expressed the hope that the territory of Afghanistan would not be allowed to be used against Pakistan.